- Paperback: 32 pages
- Publisher: Phoenicia Publishing (January 1, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0978174992
- ISBN-13: 978-0978174996
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.1 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,334,986 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Odes to Tools Paperback – January 1, 2010
About the Author
Dave Bonta is official poet-in-residence, personal chef and general dogsbody at the Plummer's Hollow Nature Reserve in Central Pennsylvania, though he is nowhere near as handy as these odes might suggest. In fact, he is a managing editor of the online literary journal qarrtsiluni, and his favorite tool is the computer mouse. Born in 1966, he is just three years older than the Internet. He began writing poetry at the age of seven, and has had poems published in such diverse places as Art Times, Birdwatchers' Digest, Frogpond, Bamboo, Pivot, Studies in Contemporary Satire, The Sun, Poetry for the Masses, and Wind. His photos have appeared in Cha, Sawmill and Woodlot, the New Hampshire Public Radio website, and the second edition of the college textbook Insect Behavior, among other places. The poems in this collection originally appeared as a series on his personal blog, Via Negativa, from April 4 to July 24, 2008.
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In Bonta's hands, the most prosaic items -- a claw hammer, a shovel, a bucket -- are elevated, their hidden humanity revealed. Every now and then he rhapsodizes about a tool which isn't strictly utilitarian -- his "Ode to a Musical Saw" offers the couplet "no longer restricted to the harsh / amens of service," which I love -- but most often he writes about the basic things you might find in an average garage workshop. The titling of these poems is surely a nod to Pablo Neruda, and the comparison doesn't go amiss.
What makes these poems work is their juxtaposition of mundane objects with breathtaking leaps of imagery. "Ode to a Compass" describes the compass as "shiny & dangerous, / a headless ballerina / with one wooden leg." Now that I've read that, I'll never see the scribing of a compass the same way. At their best, that's what these poems offer -- new eyes through which to see old and familiar things.